The SECURE Act

On Jan. 1, 2020, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) went into effect, and it represents the most significant retirement-planning legislation in decades. Indeed, the changes ushered in by the SECURE Act have dramatic implications...
Three Health Care Documents You Need to Include in Your Estate Plan

Three Health Care Documents You Need to Include in Your Estate Plan

Decisions about your health care are some of the most important you will ever make. Don’t put off making plans until you are unable to assert your wishes. Including health care documents in your estate plan can ensure your decisions are always your choice, even if you...
What Women Need to Know About Estate Planning

What Women Need to Know About Estate Planning

Women outlive men, make less during their careers and have less in savings due to pay discrepancies and time taken out of the workforce to raise their families. Here are a few things that women, in particular, need to know about estate planning: Minor children can be...
Basic Estate Planning Task

Basic Estate Planning Task

With the federal estate tax exemption at $5.49 million for 2017, many people think estate planning is unnecessary. But there’s one thing ALL adults over the age of 18 need to look at, regardless of estate taxes: beneficiary designations. This is an essential and basic...
5 Reasons Why

5 Reasons Why

Creating an estate plan to protect your financial future and that of your family is just the first step in the estate planning process. Once those documents are executed, you will still need to review your plan annually to ensure it continues to reflect your needs and...

The Last Important Gift to Give Your Family

As hard as it is for all of us to plan for our deaths, doing so is one of the best things you can do for your family. Adding to their grief and pain by giving them no clue as to where to find your personal and business paperwork should not be a memory you leave...
Keep Your Family Out Of Court

Keep Your Family Out Of Court

Many people fail to create an estate plan because they don’t truly understand what is involved and therefore believe it is too complicated. But the real truth is that creating an estate plan during your lifetime is far less complicated than what your family will deal...
The Wealth Creation Trust

The Wealth Creation Trust

The perfect gift for your child or grandchild on the occasion of their birth, Bar or Bat Mitzvah, Sweet 16 or Quinceañera cannot be found in any store.  Instead, the hopes and wishes you have for your child (or grandchild’s) future can best be expressed with a gift of...

No Money is No Excuse

Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not just about money or taxes. Far from it. Today, it’s more about protecting your assets for yourself and your loved ones, achieving your financial goals and safeguarding your health care. Money and taxes aside, here are...
Avoiding Family Conflict

Avoiding Family Conflict

Perhaps the phrase “avoiding family conflict” seems a little far-fetched when it comes to planning your estate. Unfortunately, money has a habit of bringing out the worst in people, even in the best of families. One of the most important reasons to get...
Updating Your Estate Plan

Updating Your Estate Plan

It’s hard to believe that people who spend a lifetime working hard to accumulate wealth spend little or no time planning for what will happen to it after they pass, especially if children are in the picture. Yet a recent Consumer Reports survey tells us that 86% of...
How To Leave Your Home To Your Kids

How To Leave Your Home To Your Kids

Many parents want to know the best way to leave a home to their children. Before you make a plan, you should first be sure that your children actually want the property. We have seen too many parents take on unnecessary financial hardship in order to keep a home as an...

Poorman’s Estate Planning

They call it the poor man’s estate planning. Put your child on the title to your deed and avoid probate.  Yet this poor man’s planning often ends up, well, poorly; and costing a lot more for the people you love. Here are some risks and solutions to this...
Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney

Power of attorney (POA) is a document that grants a specific person, called an agent, the authority to make important decisions on behalf of another person, called the principal. There are many different kinds of power of attorney. The scope of the authority the...

How to Fund Your Trust to Avoid Probate

A common estate planning mistake many people make – including celebrities like Michael Jackson – is not ensuring the Trust you have created holds all your assets. Unfortunately, many lawyers do not make sure this is properly handled for their clients because they are...
Protect Family Heirlooms

Protect Family Heirlooms

The passing of family heirlooms from one generation to another should be welcome tradition in most families, but unfortunately, this process can cause long-lasting family rifts if not done properly. There are many stories of families that have split over a silver tea...
Will vs Trust in Tennessee

Will vs Trust in Tennessee

A Will is one of the most basic Tennessee estate planning documents, and everyone should have one to make sure that there is no question about what would happen to your assets and kids if something happens to you. But there are some cases when having a trust in...
7 Reasons to Consider a Trust

7 Reasons to Consider a Trust

Do you consider trusts to be instruments of the wealthy? While it is true that many Americans of means have trusts to protect and pass their wealth, there are a number of reasons why trusts can also be useful for middle-class families. Here are 7 of them: Control...
Life Insurance Benefits and Your Heirs

Life Insurance Benefits and Your Heirs

How do you ensure that your life insurance policy will benefit your heirs? Not long ago, 11 major life insurance companies agreed to pay $763 million to the heirs of deceased policyholders after it was discovered the companies continued billing customers for their...
Dying Without a Will

Dying Without a Will

Dying without a Will? Most people know they need a Will. And many of them fully intend to write a Will… someday. But life is busy and the will keeps getting put off. Eventually, someday becomes never. In fact, nearly half of American adults will die without a...
Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-Term Care Insurance

Elder Care is emerging as a significant issue for many people as life spans continue to increase. It is nice to know that because of health care advances, we can expect to live longer, but there are no included guarantees on the quality of life in the later years. So...
Grandparents and Their Grandchildren

Grandparents and Their Grandchildren

Grandparents and their grandchildren. Raising a grandchild (or even spending a lot of time with your grandchild while his or her parents work) can be fraught with legal and financial complications. Lacking many of the inherent rights parents have, grandparents who are...
Legal Rights of Grandparents

Legal Rights of Grandparents

When all is ideal in a family, the bond between grandparent and child is a special one. Maybe you’ve even heard that grandparenting is the grand reward for parenting. But what happens when the grandparent becomes the parent? Or when parents’ divorce or one parent dies...
Things To Think About Before Making Gifts to Grandchildren

Things To Think About Before Making Gifts to Grandchildren

If you have grandchildren – or are getting ready to welcome one – you know the special joy they bring. After all, you can now leave all the heavy lifting to the parents and just enjoy connecting with them. Many grandparents who enjoy financial freedom are...
Simple Estate Planning

Simple Estate Planning

Remember that old joke: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. Here’s how we make Estate Planning simple. The truth about how you tackle any seemingly complex task, taking it one step at a time so as not to overwhelm yourself. Many people...
How to Protect Elderly Parents From Financial Abuse

How to Protect Elderly Parents From Financial Abuse

How can you protect your elderly parents from financial abuse? Have you ever thought about it? According to a recent study by the Investor Protection Trust and Investor Protection Institute, the top three ways that the elderly could be financially exploited are: Theft...
Naming Beneficiaries

Naming Beneficiaries

Once you have chosen the people you want to receive any of your assets — either from a will, a trust, a life insurance policy or a retirement or bank account — the way you designate how they will inherit should be a key consideration. Here are five things...
How to Preserve a Family Vacation Home

How to Preserve a Family Vacation Home

If you are fortunate enough to have a family vacation home, you know the emotional value it holds for every member of your family. Many cherished family memories are rooted in a special place, which makes it important for current and future generations to preserve it...
Summer Vacation Planning

Summer Vacation Planning

It’s no surprise that Americans spend more time planning their summer vacations than they do planning their estate. After all, a vacation is a trip you want to go on, while the eternal trip is not. However, wouldn’t you travel with more peace of mind if you knew you...
Checklist Before You Travel

Checklist Before You Travel

Booking flights and that great destination resort is where everyone’s mind goes when thinking about travel and vacations. And you are also planning for pet care, house sitting and someone to grab your papers and mail while you are gone. But it is also time to think...
Digital Data and Death

Digital Data and Death

Take a moment and consider how much of your life you live online. If you are like most of us, you bank, pay bills, make purchases, connect with friends and communicate with just about everyone you know online. Think about all the digital assets you have accumulated...
Afterlife Identity Theft

Afterlife Identity Theft

A new trend in identity theft – afterlife identity theft – is on the rise, with thieves scouring obituaries for personal information to steal the identities of those who have passed.  When you lose a loved one, it is important to take quick action and notify a number...
Digital Life After Death

Digital Life After Death

Have you ever thought about what happens to your social media accounts after you die? Digital life after death? According to the Pew Research Center, 74 percent of Internet users maintain a social media presence using websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and...
Predatory Tax Liens on the Family Home

Predatory Tax Liens on the Family Home

As our parents and other loved ones age, they may need a little more attention from us. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, or even neighbors who are aging may want to be seen as strong and independent. Often, however, their abilities to take care of household...
Myths About Gift Taxes

Myths About Gift Taxes

April 15 is not only the traditional deadline for filing your state and federal income tax returns, but also the deadline for filing gift tax returns via IRS Form 709. Many people are confused about the subject of gift taxes. Here are some common myths about gift...
Inherited IRAs in Bankruptcy

Inherited IRAs in Bankruptcy

This supreme court decision made Inherited IRAs fair game in Bankruptcy: In Clark v. Rameker, Heidi Heffron-Clark inherited an IRA from her mother. She received distributions from that inherited IRA for several years before filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Ms....
Life Insurance Proceeds and Taxation

Life Insurance Proceeds and Taxation

If you have been responsible enough to purchase a life insurance policy as added protection for your loved ones, then you will want to carry that responsible action a little further by protecting that important payout from taxation. If you are married and have named...
Max Tax Return Tips

Max Tax Return Tips

Did you get a holiday bonus from your employer? Or maybe you have a tax refund coming.  If so, do you have any of it left, have you already got it spent in your mind, or are you thoughtfully considering how you can best utilize this surprise resource?  Annual bonus...
More Than Money

More Than Money

Your memorial should be so much more than just money. Let’s look at a real life example: One of the most striking aspects of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum is the voice recordings left on the phones of the victims’ families of their last...
AMBER ALERT

AMBER ALERT

As a parent, your number one job is to keep your children safe, and that’s not always easy. In our imperfect world there is no shortage of potential dangers to innocent children. One of a parent’s worst nightmares is the thought of the abduction of a child. Could an...
Estate Planning for Blended Families

Estate Planning for Blended Families

The term “blended family” has become commonplace in our society and refers to a family where one or both spouses were previously married and have children from the prior marriage. In some instances, the new couple goes on to have children of their own. With children,...
How to Reduce the Cost of Long-Term Care Insurance

How to Reduce the Cost of Long-Term Care Insurance

A person who turns 65 today has a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care at some time in their remaining years, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. On average, women will need 3.7 years of long-term care and men will need 2.2...
Help for Dealing with a Parent’s Dementia Diagnosis

Help for Dealing with a Parent’s Dementia Diagnosis

Alzheimer’s Disease is in the news again thanks to Academy Award winner Julianne Moore’s performance in the movie Still Alice, where she portrays a college professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and movingly portrays the effect it has on her family....
Steps after Dementia Diagnosis

Steps after Dementia Diagnosis

What do you do when a loved one receives a diagnosis of dementia? Maria Shriver knows the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease firsthand.  Her beloved father Sargent Shriver, founder of the Peace Corps and one-time candidate for Vice President of the United States, died...

Legacy Planning

What exactly is “Legacy Planning?” Well, let’s talk about it! The assets you leave to your loved ones can either be a source of relief or, sometimes, a source of panic if they don’t know how to manage those assets. Unless properly prepared, your...

Tips for Charitable Giving

Want some tips for charitable giving? According to a recent Forbes article, Americans donated more than $316 billion to charity last year – and most of that came from individuals.  Holidays are a traditional time of giving, and not just because we like to get in those...
Prince Left No Will

Prince Left No Will

Even after death, celebrities are highly publicized for their mistakes, many of which we make ourselves. A couple of years ago, superstar musician Prince died suddenly, leaving no will, and the management of his substantial estate fraught with legal complications and...

Bill & Hillary Clinton

What You Can Learn from the Clintons’ Tax Returns What can you learn from reviewing the Bill and Hillary Clinton’s tax returns, which they released during Hillary’s run for the presidency, about how to save money on your own taxes? First and foremost, plan ahead...

Queen Latifah

Even Celebrities Like Queen Latifah Act as Caregivers for Their Aging Parents We may not think about it often, but even celebrities take care of their aging parents. Actress, singer, and songwriter Queen Latifah plays an active role in caring for her mother, Rita...

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson Starts Blended Family: What She Needs to Consider Starting a new family is always exciting and even a tad scary. This natural apprehension can be enhanced when a couple creates a blended family. Bringing children from different parents together presents...

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg Did Not Pledge 99% of His Facebook Stock to Charity — Here’s What He Did Instead + What He Could Do Even Better   When I heard that Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, were donating 99 percent of their Facebook shares — currently...

L’Oreal Heiress

Protecting Our Family When It Matters Most Lilliane Bettencourt, 92, is heiress to the L’Oreal cosmetics fortune, and Forbes has estimated her worth at $40 billion.  According to a recent New York Times story, a current lawsuit in French court — dubbed the...

James Brown

No One Feeling Good About Battle Over James Brown Estate James Brown was known for his signature song, “I Feel Good,” but no one is feeling good about the battle that was still being waged over his estate over a decade after his death in 2006. The majority of Brown’s...

Sting

Will the Inheritance You Leave Be a Blessing or an Albatross? Rock musician Sting recently announced that his children will not inherit his estimated $300 million fortune, saying that these riches are “albatrosses around their necks.” The product of a British working...
Paul Walker

Paul Walker

5 Fast & Furious Estate Planning Lessons from Paul Walker’s Estate Paul Walker, who starred in the Fast & Furious movie franchise, died tragically in a high speed car accident in Los Angeles in November of 2013 at the age of 40.  His estate was opened at the...
Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers Has Last Laugh Through Use of a Family Trust Famous comedienne, Joan Rivers, who died unexpectedly on September 4, 2014, from what is alleged to be a botched medical procedure, made millions making us all laugh. Some of her most infamous routines centered...
Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall

Hollywood Legend Lauren Bacall Leaves Large Estate and Two Potentially Large Headaches for Heirs Legendary Hollywood actress Lauren Bacall died on August 12, 2014, leaving behind an estate estimated at $26.6 million and three children who face a couple of potentially...

Casey Kasem

Casey Kasem’s Estate Planning Not in Anyone’s Top 40 Casey Kasem, the celebrity radio host who counted down America’s Top 40 popular songs for years, died on June 15 at the age of 82 and left behind an estimated $80 million fortune.  He also left a family feud of...

Robin Williams

Robin Williams:  A Lesson in Deeds, Not Words + One Error in Planning One of the most eloquent responses to Robin Williams’ death came from his best friend Billy Crystal, who posted on Twitter simply:  “No words.” When someone close to us dies — especially in a...

James Gandolfini

Learn From the Expensive Mistakes & Smart Decisions Made By Actor James Gandolfini In Planning for His Estate James Gandolfini, the actor best known for his portrayal of Tony Soprano on HBO’s The Sopranos, died suddenly last month while on vacation in Italy.  His...

Ed Koch

What You Can Learn From Three-Time NYC Mayor Ed Koch’s Will About Your Estate Planning Three-time New York City Mayor Ed Koch died on Feb. 1, leaving an estate estimated between $10-$11 million.  And it’s a good thing that “Hizzoner” loved governing, because...
Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

What We Can Learn From Downton Abbey About Estate Planning Downton Abbey – the PBS drama about the fortunes and misfortunes of an aristocratic British family in the early 20th century that has taken American audiences by storm – gets most of its gripping plot twists...
Saving for College

Saving for College

Saving for college? If it’s important to you that your children attend college, the time to start saving is now, no matter how young or old they are; the question for you to ask is where to place your savings. If you start saving early in your child’s life, you...